Gabby Friedman will represent BC Children’s Hospital Foundation on May 3, 2018 as the Jeans Day Champion Child (Photo by Stacey Friedman)

Richmond teen to represent BC Children’s Hospital for Jeans Day

Gabby will be jeaning up on May 3 at Vancouver Art Gallery

It is difficult to imagine that Gabby Friedman spent the first three years of her life in and out of BC Children’s Hospital.

The 15-year-old is in Grade 9 in Richmond and loves staying active.

“I like to play a lot of sports, art, draw and paint,” she says with a bright smile. “My main sport would be soccer, I just love soccer.”

When she was just over a year old, Gabby underwent her first surgery to control persistent ear infections and remove her adenoids, which are glands in the mouth.

Two months later, she began suffering from seizures and high fever. Doctors found she had a low white blood cell count and her platelets were non-existent, but couldn’t figure out why.

Shortly before her second birthday, Gabby’s parents returned to the emergency department at BC Children’s Hospital and were told that her major organs were shutting down.

Gabby’s mother, Stacey Friedman, said the staff wanted to discharge them with an unknown diagnosis.

“I steadfastly refused to leave the hospital,” Friedman said. “You are not discharging her until you can figure out what is wrong with her.”

Gabby was ultimately diagnosed with portal vein thrombosis and portal hypertension, a rare condition caused by a clot in the portal vein, which carries blood to the liver.

Gabby’s condition left her in a state of constant insecurity of severe internal bleeding. Every 90 days, she required surgery to put bands around her veins.

In 2005, the girl received the Rex Shunt procedure at SickKids Hospital in Toronto, which changed her life. Her liver and spleen repaired within the year and she was able to grow physically and developmentally.

“I guess I knew I was there for a reason and to just stay happy and let the doctors do what they need to do,” Gabby said. “Because in a way, I knew I was sick, even though I was really young.”

Said her mother of the ordeal the family faced for so many years: “Honestly, I don’t think you think about it. You just power through it. You just do what you have to do.”

Gabby is a 2018 Jeans Day Ambassador on behalf of the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Jeans Day event on May 3.

Since its inauguration in 1990, Jeans Day has raised more than $21 million for the hospital.

Individuals, families and corporations are encouraged to wear Jeans Day buttons along with denim clothing.

The annual public Jeans Day BBQ will be held at the Vancouver Art Gallery between 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Vancouver Canucks alumni Daniel and Henrik Sedin, as well as other athletes and team mascots, are major Jeans Day supporters.

“When you go through something like a sickness, you are not alone because there is your community near you and your community will help you and raise you,” said Gabby.


@kieranroconnor
kieran.oconnor@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Two projects to tackle Haisla housing shortage

B.C. government plans to build more than 280 homes across nine communities in the north

Museum and Haisla Nation Council sign MOU

MOU further strengthens the existing relationship

VIDEO: Dog behaviourist holds classes to raise funds for NARA

Holidays are a busy time for rescue agencies

City of Terrace leaps into real estate market

Expects that Canada LNG project will spark developer interest

VIDEO: This B.C. school leads country in vaccine donations to UNICEF

Federally funded Kids Boost Immunity uses quizzes to earn vaccinations

Boeser scores 3, Pettersson has 5 points as Canucks hammer Blues

Vancouver picks up impressive 6-1 win in St. Louis

B.C. police stop drunk driver who offered up burger instead of ID

Roadblock checks over the weekend found at least two other impaired drivers

In Canada, the term ‘nationalism’ doesn’t seem to have a bad rap. Here’s why

Data suggest that Canadians don’t see the concept of nationalism the way people do in the United States

Small quake recorded west of Vancouver Island

No injuries or tsunami warning after 5.4 rumble felt some 400 kilometres from Victoria

B.C. suspends Chinese portion of Asian forestry trade mission due to Huawei arrest

Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of U.S. in Vancouver

Canadians spent $1.7 billion dollars online in December 2017

Online retail sales accounted for 3.4 per cent of total retail sales

2-year investigations nets $900,000 in refunds for payday loan customers

Consumer Protection BC says selling practices were ‘aggressive and deceptive’

China: Canada’s detention of Huawei exec ‘vile in nature’

Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet company

Most Read